|Archbishop of Canterbury|
|Reign ended||12 August 792|
|Died||12 August 792
|Feast day||12 August|
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
Jænberht (also Jænbert, Jaenberht, Jaenbert, Jaenberht, Jaenbeorht, Janibert, Janbriht, Jambert, Lambert, Lanbriht, or Genegberht) was monk, then abbot, of St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury, and eventually Archbishop of Canterbury.
Jænberht was a monk at St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury before being selected as abbot of that monastic house. He came from a prominent family in the kingdom of Kent, and a kinsman of his, Eadhun, was the reeve of King Egbert II of Kent. Jænberht himself was on good terms with Egbert II.
He was consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury on 2 February 765. He was consecrated at the court of King Offa of Mercia, which implies that his election was acceptable to the king. He received a pallium, the symbol of an archbishop's authority given by the papacy, in 766. In 776, Kent, which had been subjected to Offa, rebelled, perhaps at the urging of Jænberht, and secured their freedom. In 780 and 781, he attended church councils at Brentford that were led by King Offa of Mercia. Although he seems to have originally been on decent terms with Offa, Jaenbert's ties to Egbert were also strong, for after the Battle of Otford, Egbert granted a number of estates to Christ Church. After Offa reasserted control over Kent, which occurred at the latest in 785, these lands were confiscated by Offa and regranted to some of Offa's thegns.
His term saw a dispute between the see of Canterbury and Offa leading to the creation of the rival Archdiocese of Lichfield in 787 under Higbert. Originally, Offa attempted to the archbishopric to London, but when that effort failed, the king secured the creation of a third archbishopric in the British Isles. Lichfield was the main Mercian bishopric, and thus the new archbishopric was under Offa's control. Some of the sources of conflict were Jænberht's opposition to Offa's removal of the Kentish dynasty, a conflict over land claimed by both the archbishop and the king, and Jænberht's refusal to crown Offa's son Ecgfrith of Mercia. Another source of conflict was Canterbury's mint, where the archbishop minted his own coins. Matthew Paris, in the thirteenth century, stated that Jænberht conspired with Charlemagne to admit Charlemagne to Canterbury if Charlemagne invaded Britain. This story may reflect a genuine tradition recorded at St Albans Abbey, where Paris was based, or it may just be a fabrication designed to fill in details in Jænberht's life where Paris had no other information. A rumour was also current that claimed falsely that Offa was plotting with Charlemagne to depose Pope Hadrian I, and at least one modern historian, Simon Keynes, feels that it is possible that Jænberht might have been behind the rumour. Offa's eventual successor later admitted to the papacy that Offa's actions had been motivated by hatred of Jænberht and the Kentish people.
In 787, Pope Adrian I sent a pallium to Higbert of Lichfield, which elevated Lichfield to an archbishopric, and Ecgfrith was crowned. There is no extant contemporary evidence, however, that Jænberht ever recognized Higbert as an archbishop.[notes 1] Canterbury retained as suffragans the bishops of Winchester, Sherborne, Selsey, Rochester, and London. The dioceses of Worcester, Hereford, Leicester, Lindsey, Dommoc and Elmham were transferred to Lichfield.
Jænberht presided at a council held at London, sometime after the elevation of Lichfield, which was attended by most of the bishops from the southern part of Britain.
Jænberht died on 12 August 792. After his death, Offa at a council held at Clofesho and granted some privileges to the Kentish churches. Jænberht was buried in the abbey church of St Augustine's Abbey in Canterbury. Jænberht has since been revered as a saint with a feast day of 12 August.
|Catholic Church titles|